Volume 28, No.3

Spring 2014

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  • Editorial: Queering Schools

    By The Editors of Rethinking Schools

    How can we create classrooms and schools where discrimination and assumptions about gender and/or sexuality don’t keep us from nurturing every child, parent, and staff member?

  • “Aren’t There Any Poor Gay People Besides Me?”

    Teaching LGBTQ issues in the rural South

    By Stephanie Anne Shelton

    A teacher redesigns her curriculum to support a gay student. As the classroom community strengthens, they confront the impact of poverty and geographic isolation.

  • 500 Square Feet of Respect

    Queering a study of the criminal justice system

    By Adam Grant Kelley

    Facing conflict fueled by racism and homophobia at his school, a teacher develops curriculum for the school-to-prison pipeline aimed at building bridges and academic skills.

  • Organizing Resistance to Teach for America

    By Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel

    Former TFA corps members join with parents, students, and veteran teachers to organize a people’s assembly and nationalize efforts against TFA.

  • An Open Letter to New Teach For America Recruits

    By Katie Osgood

    A Chicago teacher urges TFA recruits to think twice before they sign up.

  • Teach For America: A Voice of Dissent

    By Mariah Dickinson

    A former TFA corps member describes her experiences inside TFA, beginning with the cultlike atmosphere of the training.

  • Civil Disobedience

    By Christy Stevens

    When a substitute is insensitive to a fragile student, her classmates look to Thoreau for inspiration about how to respond.

  • Desobediencia civil

    By Christy Stevens

    Los estudiantes invadieron mi coche. Al apagar el motor, oí sus voces animadas, cargadas y llenas de ira. Bajé la ventanilla del coche y les pedí que dieran un paso atrás para poder salir. Todos hablaron al mismo tiempo: “”¡Robbie va a ir a la cárcel si no haces algo!” “¡Ella acusó a todos en […]

  • Environmental Crime on Trial

    Students probe the BP oil spill

    By Brady Bennon

    The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill coincided with my first year of teaching modern world history at a high school in Portland, Oregon.

  • Mything Mandela

    By Deborah Menkart

    Kadir Nelson’s acclaimed picture book Mandela portrays Nelson Mandela as an isolated hero, ignoring the movement of which he was an integral part.

  • Creando el mito de Mandela

    By Deborah Menkart

    Mandela, el hermosamente ilustrado libro infantil de Kadir Nelson, ha sido seleccionado como uno de los mejores libros sobre Mandela por muchos grupos, incluyendo Colorlines y Kirkus Reviews. Dado los talentos de Nelson y su fuerte reputación como autor de libros para niños, es probable que Mandela se convierta en un clásico en bibliotecas y […]

  • The Gathering Resistance to Standardized Tests

    By The Editors of Rethinking Schools

    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan touched off a torrent of criticism last November when he told a group of state school superintendents that opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) was coming from “white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t […]

  • Aumentando la resistencia en contra de los exámenes estandarizados

    By the editors of Rethinking Schools

    El Secretario de Educación de Estados Unidos Arne Duncan desencadenó una torrente de críticas el noviembre pasado cuando le dijo a un grupo de superintendentes escolares que la oposición a los Estándares Comunes Estatales (Common Core State Standards) venía de “mamás blancas de los suburbios que –de repente– se habían dado cuenta que sus hijos […]

  • Letters to the Editor 28.3

      Is It the Text or the Teaching? Michelle Kenney (“Of Mice and Marginalization,” fall 2013) makes compelling points about the pressures of choosing texts for her classroom. When her students were presented with the task of reading Steinbeck’s “classic” Of Mice and Men, they stopped reading, left class, or otherwise “checked out” of the […]

  • Ed Alert: Military Teaches Our Kids

    By Seth Kershner

    There’s a saying in the Army recruiting community: “First to contact, first to contract.” In the United States, you have to be at least 17 years old to enlist in the armed forces. But, according to those who make a living tracking students’ feelings about the military, it would be pure folly not to start […]

  • Ed Alert: The GED Goes Private

    By Mich Levy, Lee Gargagliano, Annika Butler-Wall

    Selling Off Second Chances Across Oakland, California, residents have been bombarded with billboards featuring celebrities urging them to get their high school equivalency credential by passing the GED. The billboards went up just as Oakland’s public education system for adults was being dismantled and the GED test itself was being privatized, computerized, and made significantly […]

  • Victory for Portland Teachers

    By Elizabeth Thiel

    After coming to the brink of what would have been the first strike in their union’s history, Portland, Oregon, teachers won a historic contract that reduces workload significantly. The district agreed to hire 150 teachers for the next school year, potentially reducing class size by more than 5 percent. Portland teachers had voted overwhelmingly to […]

  • Short Stuff 28.3

    Testing Boycott in Chicago Teachers at two Chicago schools—Maria Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy and Thomas Drummond Elementary (Drummond Montessori)—voted to refuse to distribute the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) to their students in the beginning of March. At Saucedo alone, more than 350 parents turned in opt-out forms for their children. As Saucedo special education […]

  • When a Picture Book Is Subversive

    By Rachel Cloues

    As a K-8 teacher librarian, I love to read picture books that generate thoughtful questions and debate among the diverse students I work with. Toni Morrison’s children’s book The Big Box is just such a gem. Over the years, I have read this book to countless groups of children in the classroom and the library, […]

  • Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice resources 28.3

    Elementary School Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence By Gretchen WoelfleIllustrated by Alix Delinois(Carolrhoda Books, 2014)32 pp. Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence gives young readers a slavery-to-freedom narrative that is clever, honest, and age-appropriate. Gretchen Woelfle’s recounting of Elizabeth Freeman’s true story of resistance and liberation is smartly written and beautifully illustrated. Readers are introduced to Mumbet, a […]